Small Is Good
“It’s About Size,” a group show of small works of art in various media, is on view at Bowersock Gallery (373 Commercial St., Provincetown) through Jan. 4.
Catherine Nash’s small-scale mixed media assemblages are a highlight of the exhibition. Combining painted elements with handmade paper, gold and silver leaf, and found objects, Nash creates panels and dioramas — some of them in burned vintage jewelry boxes — that recall the work of Joseph Cornell in their incorporation of scenes of night skies and astronomical motifs: a constellation in Radiating, a sweeping field of stars in Twilight. Their expansive visual themes contrast with their size: none is much larger than 12 inches in any dimension.
“Each work is a window to another world, moment, or consciousness,” says gallery co-owner and exhibition curator Steve Bowersock, “which over time evolves along with the viewer.”
Closer to home, Sheila Barbone’s impressionistic views of Commercial Street show keen attention to atmosphere and detail — even trash and recycling bins are depicted as colorful and necessary elements of an overall composition. And Emma Ashby balances riotously colored and patterned landscapes with subtly gradated, almost watercolor-like skies in her encaustic paintings of rocky beaches and English countrysides.
The entire exhibition is viewable online on the gallery’s recently revamped website. See bowersockgallery.com for more information. —John D’Addario
A Very Dina Martina Christmas
In advance of her Christmas showon Dec. 29 at the Crown & Anchor (247 Commercial St., Provincetown), the Independent caught up with Dina Martina by phone at her Tudor-style houseboat on Camano Island near Seattle just as she was finishing an entry in her dream journal.
“I had the most amazing dream in which former Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank turned straight and married Raggedy Ann,” she said. “So, then her name was Raggedy Ann Frank.”
Those who have seen her previous holiday shows (this will be her first here since 2018) will be thrilled to know that she is continuing her tradition of distributing pointless gifts to lucky audience members. But she warned against overexcitement. “Keep your expectations low and you’ll be pleasantly disappointed,” she added.
Martina is confronting complicated feelings about the holidays. “To me, Christmas is more than just a four-week window of giving and taking,” she said. “It can be as simple as the glint of the snow on a soft summer breeze, or even just smiling at a blind person on the street. New Year’s is a time for Ruffles and Lipton California Onion Dip. But more than anything, it’s a time for old beginnings.”
She reflected on her magical memories of the season. “Every year on Christmas Eve, my mother would make a dish that was so simple but so delicious,” Martina said. “Just raisins, butter, and Crisco in a bowl. Understated — but so noteworthy.”
Many performers have pre- and post-show rituals to keep themselves focused and grounded. Martina is no exception. “Each night before my show, I do three squat thrusts and recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Pig Latin,” she said. “My self-care ritual after every show is a baker’s dozen of oatmeal Scotchies and a generous chest rub of Ben Gay.”
Though Martina is firmly focused on the future — her new album Death Is All Around will drop sometime between very early and extremely late 2023 — she sees this moment as the perfect time to share a message about living in the present. “Never take for granted that the dinosaurs generously gave their lives so that we might drive cars and fly planes and wax our lush pubic regions,” she said. “And last of all, never forget that when they say ‘hot plate’ in a Mexican restaurant, for God’s sake, listen to them.”
Tickets for the Dina Martina Christmas Show are $40 at onlyatthecrown.com. —James Judd